About Neil Franklin

Neil Franklin is Insight's news editor

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Gig economy workers need more workplace protection claims report

Gig economy workers need more workplace protection claims report

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Businesses and employees are calling on the UK Government to provide more protection for those who work in the gig economy. In a survey of nearly 5,000 workers and over 100 businesses by jobs site  totaljobs, 90 percent of employees and 87 percent of employers said that more regulations were needed to protect the rights of gig workers. In addition, 64 percent of employers believe the gig economy’s importance will only continue to grow in the next year, as individuals turn to self-employment in favour of more flexible working arrangements.

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UK offices lack the features needed to boost productivity and wellbeing of introverts

UK offices lack the features needed to boost productivity and wellbeing of introverts

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A poll from Office Genie claims that Britain’s workplaces are in need of a makeover, with many not catering to employees’ needs. According to the survey of around 1,500 people, workspaces are lacking distinct, tailor-made areas that could enable employees to work more effectively, particularly introverted workers. After surveying 1,456 British office workers, the poll suggests the majority of workplaces do not have areas that aid lone-working (67 percent), offer privacy (54 percent), or opportunities for quiet work (58 percent). They also do not have spaces that promote collaboration (45 percent) or provide chill-out areas for staff (74 percent). Respondents were asked if their workplace allows them to carry out their work comfortably and 20 percent stated it does not. Worryingly, of that number, 70 percent claim it affects their desire to come to work. In terms of improved wellbeing and productivity, chill-out areas, quiet areas, and private spaces are top of workers’ lists.

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The working week now starts on Sunday afternoon for the average British worker

The working week now starts on Sunday afternoon for the average British worker

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The average British employee now starts their working week at 16:22 on Sunday, according to a study from investment firm Bestinvest. According to the survey of 1,000 people, 76 percent of people admit that they have previously experienced the Mondays blues. Those working in accountancy and banking were seen to be the least inspired about going to work on Monday mornings, with 83 percent stating that they find it difficult to pull themselves out of bed on the first day of the week.

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Workplace design continues to lag behind the needs of modern working life

Workplace design continues to lag behind the needs of modern working life

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Companies around the world waste potentially billions of dollars on under-utilised office spaces that are unfit for purpose and do not reflect the needs of modern workers, a recent benchmark study of over 100 workplaces claims. The study, Optimaze Workplace Review, from Finland based workplace analyst Rapal Oy took place during 2016, aggregates space utilisation data collected from 15 countries. The 330 observational space utilisation studies involved more than 6,600 walk-throughs of 111 buildings and 53,600 work spaces around the world to explore the working practices and environments of more than 23,000 people. It also includes a dataset of around 354 million observations of workstation use in total. The report’s main conclusion is that leadership teams are increasingly placing workplace management issues higher on their agendas, aware of the need to align spaces with new working cultures.

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Saudi Arabia announces plans for $500 billion mega city in region

Saudi Arabia announces plans for $500 billion mega city in region

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Following last week’s announcement that Toronto is to create a digital city along its waterfront, Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to build a $500 billion ‘mega-city’ spanning parts of several countries. The plans announced this week are a response to the need for the kingdom to produce a more diverse economic base and will create a zone that will run on alternative energy and have its own legal system and employment laws. The region will be known as Neom, a name derived from terminology meaning ‘New Future’ and will span parts of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan along the Red Sea coastline as a 26,500 square kilometre development of previously untouched land (pictured). Plans inevitably include technologies such as driverless cars, drones and robots, and were unveiled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh this week. The zone is expected to cost around $500 billion (£380.5 billion) and will be powered entirely by renewable energy and focus on industries including energy, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment.

Wellbeing named as top priority for 2018 by human resources managers

Wellbeing named as top priority for 2018 by human resources managers

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A vox pop poll carried out by  employee engagement firm Reward Gateway at a recent conference claims that wellbeing, pay and benefits and recognition will be the top employee engagement priorities for HR professionals in 2018. The research, which polled 565 HR professionals at Employee Benefits Live 2017, echoes two studies undertaken by the same firm earlier this year. These studies found that companies are looking to invest in areas which UK employees have said are crucial to them, but don’t feel as though their employers are adequately providing: wellbeing and recognition. As the top agenda point, the importance of wellbeing in the workplace was echoed in a study conducted in September 2017, which claimed that 22 million British workers, or 7 in 10 employees (71 percent), have felt stress or financial strain in the last five years. Despite these numbers, the same research also claims that a third of respondents said that their company currently offers no wellbeing programmes.

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Government outlines plan to become the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020

Government outlines plan to become the UK’s most inclusive employer by 2020

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The Government has today announced its plans for how it says it will become ‘the most inclusive employer in the UK’ by 2020. The Civil Service Diversity & Inclusion Strategy outlines a range of ambitious proposals to achieve this aim, including: building a dedicated ethnic minority programme to improve the representation of ethnic minority staff at the most senior levels across the Civil Service; creating a Diverse Leadership Task Force that will report to the Cabinet Secretary; publishing a data dashboard tracking progress on diversity and inclusion targets by April 2018; establishing a new framework for measuring inclusion; and ’embedding’ diversity and inclusion in Single Departmental Plans.

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Progress on gender equality at work moving at a snail’s pace, report claims

Progress on gender equality at work moving at a snail’s pace, report claims

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The UK’s gender equality at work has barely budged in ten years, a new report claims. The Gender Equality Index 2017, which has been published by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), also claims that gender equality across the EU improved little between 2005 and 2015. The index measures gender equality at work using several factors, including the proportion of women in full-time employment, the availability of flexible-working arrangements and career prospects. According to the report, the EU’s score is just four points higher than ten years ago, now 66.2 out of 100. The top performing country is Sweden with a score of 82.6, while Greece moved to the bottom with 50 points. The award for the most improved country goes to Italy, which made a big leap and gained 12.9 points to place itself at rank 14 on the ladder.

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A third of UK employees ready to quit their jobs as half their time is spent on “work about work”

A third of UK employees ready to quit their jobs as half their time is spent on “work about work”

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A new study claims that duplicated work, disorganisation, and micromanagement are widespread within UK businesses. The study claims that unproductive working practices in UK companies are rife, with 42 percent of employees saying they spend most of their time on futile “work about work” tasks, including status meetings, organising work, and tracking down information, as opposed to doing their actual work and moving projects forward. As well as impeding productivity, this is threatening staff retention: almost a third (31 percent) of UK employees admit they have either thought about leaving or actually left a job as a result of a culture which wastes their time on side issues.

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Extreme dedication to work and career could damage long-term success, study claims

Extreme dedication to work and career could damage long-term success, study claims

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People who feel their work is integral to their lives and identity and so exhibit extreme dedication to work may actually find it difficult to sustain productivity over long periods of time, new research from King’s Business School suggests. According to Dr Michael Clinton, who studied the working lives of 193 Church of England ministers, people who view their career as an intense calling are less able to successfully disengage from work in the evenings which limits their energy levels the following morning. One would assume that these people would dedicate more energy to their work. However, Clinton claims that having an intense career calling motivates people to work longer hours which directly limits their psychological detachment from work, in turn reducing sleep quality and their ability to focus.

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UK businesses continue to stifle personal creativity at work

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UK businesses are failing to support a culture of innovation despite employees believing that their companies would benefit from fresh ideas and innovative ways of working, new research claims. The study of 1,000 workplaces conducted by RADA in Business (the commercial subsidiary of the Royal Academy of Dramatic) found that 81 percent of workplaces had failed to create a culture of creativity at work that encourages new ideas and experimentation, according to their staff. Many employees feel that businesses are suffering as a result, with just under a quarter (24 percent) saying that their workplace is desperately in need of new ideas and fresh thinking to overcome current problems.

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Europe does not offer appropriate support for breast cancer survivors

Europe does not offer appropriate support for breast cancer survivors

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Although the rate of breast cancer diagnoses is rising in Europe and a higher proportion of women are surviving this particular  form of cancer,  returning to everyday aspects of life prove challenging with many survivors unable to return to work in full, due to a lack of support and consideration by employers. A new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by Pfizer investigates the challenges involved in returning to employment for a growing number of breast cancer patients and survivors of a working age.

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